Grilled Peaches…

Grilled peaches with mascarpone, toasted walnuts and drizzled with honey, on a bed of raspberry coulis 😍

Sounds exotic but is a kid’s recipe indeed. Tasted this a few years ago on a skiing holiday and still vividly remember the play of flavours, ever so exquisitely balanced on my palate. Healthy quick dessert, perfect for a Friday evening !!!👼👼👼
Cut peaches into half, take the stone out and place cut side up on a hot grill till it gets slightly charred.
Stuff the peach with a scoop of mascarpone cheese.
Top it with toasted walnuts.
Drizzle with good quality honey.
Serve with any coulis ( pureed berries)

Pumpkin Vetthukozhumbbu

Kalpa’s Vetthukozhumbbu

There is something very exotic with all our regional names for various dishes we make in India….. one particular name that has fascinated me was the Vetthukozhumbbu ( vettu-kozhumb-bbu ) which is basically a classic Iyer recipe for chilli ( vettal) and tamarind based gravy ( kozhumbu). A regular member of Kalpa Sundar’s kitchen and one of my favourite.
Sharing the recipe below, easy, tangy and yummy….



Chop pumpkin into chunky pieces.

Heat oil. Add mustard seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves, sesame seeds, chana Dal , hing and methi powder.

Add pumpkin pieces and salt.

Add tamarind concentrate .

Add a spoon of sambaar powder.

Add jaggery to taste.

Stir well and serve with hot rice or chapati._Q6A1313

Dahi Aloo ( potato in yoghurt gravy)

Imagine cold dark winter evenings, snuggled in a cosy blanket, watching your favourite soap and a steaming hot bowl of  comfort food. And by comfort food, there can only be one name at the top, the mighty potato!!! This dish hardly needs anything other than potatoes and yoghurt…easy and quick to make and soul satisfying to say the least!

_Q6A1308A simple dish that goes straight to the heart….

Boil and peel potatoes, cut into big chunks.
Heat oil, add mustard seeds, hing, sesame seeds, kadi patta optional ( the mallu gene insists on adding kadhi patta everywhere 😂😂)

Add chilli powder and coriander powder to taste (i usually add a teaspoon full of each)

Add potatoes and stir till it becomes golden brown.

Add yoghurt, salt sugar.

Finally add roasted kasuri methi ( dry fenugreek leaves).

Serve with hot phulka or steamed rice.


Dal Makhani

Ah, for the love of dal makhani !!

This name, for me, conjures up vivid images of the royalty of Tuli International, Nagpur in the early 90s. Dal Makhani used to be their signature dish and I always longed for that taste ever since I came to this country. This is, again, a very easy recipe. Yes, I have used readymade dal makhani masala ( shock horror!!!) but if the end result reminds me of my childhood favourite dish, who am I to complain 🙂



3/4 cup urad dal ( bengal gram) soaked for 4 hours

1/4 cup rajma ( kidney beans) soaked for 4 hours

1 onion chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp dal makhani masala ( readymade or home made- recipe at the end)

2 tbsp butter


Pressure cook the dal and rajma till very very soft. Mash well .

Heat oil in a wok, add butter and stir fry the onions till transcluscent. Add tomato puree.

Add 2 tbsp of Dal makhani masala and stir well.

Add boiling water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.

Simmer for 30 mins.

Add a dash of cream.

Garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve with hot parathas or steamed rice.


Roast and grind to a fine powder the following ingredients-

1 tsp cumin seeds ( jeera)

3 cloves, 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom ( badi elaichi),1 cinnamon, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 2 pinches nutmeg powder, 1 tsp aamchur, 1 tsp kasuri methi, 1 tsp coriander powder) . Store in a dry tight container.




Chicken in white wine sauce

European cuisine has been the bane of my life! Ask me about any complicated desi food and I can whiff it up in a jiffy. But the thought of even putting together a sandwich fills me with dread. I accidentally made this popular dish ( only 6 steps) and it tastes even better than what you get in the restaurants. The kids were thrilled and soon, both, the dish and me, acquired cult status in the kitchen 🙂



Chicken fillets 2 ( whole or cut into chunks)

Mushrooms 2 cups sliced

Onion 1 medium size, chopped

Chicken stock 3 cups

White wine, preferably dry 1 cup

Double cream 1 cup

Basil – few sprigs finely chopped


Heat oil in a non stick pan, add chicken fillets and fry till golden brown.

Pour the stock over it till it is covered, close lid and allow to cook for 30 mins till done.

Heat butter in another pan, saute the onions and mushrooms till soft.

Pour the white wine and allow it to bubble vigorously till it reduces to 2/3rd the amount ( it should be thick and syrupy). Add the strained stock from the cooked chicken into this mixture.

Add the double cream, boil , season with salt and pepper.

Mix the chicken into this sauce and heat it thoroughly till evenly coated.

Sprinkle basil leaves before serving._Q6A1335_Q6A1336

Serve with bread or steamed vegetables.


Stuffed Tinda / Indian Squash ( bharle dhemse)

Some recipes are forever! This particular one was my mum in law’s speciality. Aai used to make this with utmost pride and love, never rushing through it. Being raised in a purely non vegetarian household, I never understood her fascination for vegetables and to top it all, this was as bland and harmless as it could be!!! But once i tasted it, I was addicted.

Aai may no longer be with us but she lives in me through the recipes and cooking skills she passed on to me and Deepa tai. We would protest and whinge about it then but now, it’s something I hold dear to my heart.

Thanks to Deepa tai, her basic masala recipes are still intact and I hope , some day, kids, you will make this too…..

Ingredients :

12-15 pieces of tinda ( Indian squash) cut the top and scoop the inside pulp out .

1 large onion finely chopped

Chopped coriander (a lot)

1/2 cup of coarsely ground roasted peanut

1 tbsp of coarsely ground roasted sesame seeds

1 tbsp of roasted dessicated coconut

1 tbsp roasted khus khus (poppy seeds)

1 tsp of red chilli powder

1/2 tsp of haldi

1 tsp of hing

1 tbsp of red masala powder (recipe in blog)

Salt Sugar Curry leaves


Mix all the above ingredients and stuff it in the tinda .

In a pan heat 2-3 tbsp of oil, temper it with mustard seeds, hing, add stuffed tinda, and remaining masala.

Stir. Add 2 tbsp of curd and one cup water, cover and cook till tender.

Butter chicken

Aditi Gupte’s Butter Chicken recipe:
PS: tastes exactly as the restaurant dish!

Boneless chicken 1kg
Tandoori masala powder 3tbsp
Yoghurt 5 tbsp
Lemon 1

Onions 3, very finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste 3tsp
2 cans chopped tomatoes ( prefer Napolitana tomatoes)
Kaju paste 2tbsp
Kasuri methi 4tbsp roasted and crushed
Kashmiri chilli powder 2tsp
Sugar and salt to taste

1. Wash and marinade the chicken pieces in yoghurt, tandoori masala, red chilli pd, lemon juice and salt. Keep aside for few hours. Bake in the oven at 180* till done.

2. Heat oil in a wok , add onions and ginger garlic paste. Heat till the onions turn transparent.

3. Add the tins of chopped tomatoes and keep stirring over low flame till the mixture thickens and becomes doughy in consistency. This is the main part of the recipe ( the make or break point)!!
It takes time but is worth the effort. This is what gives the restaurant taste.

3. Add kaju paste and water to attain the desired consistency. Sugar and salt to taste.

4. Add some butter ( after all it’s butter chicken 😇) and a dash of cream.

5. Add the baked chicken pieces. Add roasted and crushed kasuri methi at the end.

6. Viola, and it’s ready to serve.

Aai’s garlic chutney

Some memories forever entrenched in our hearts are our treasures indeed. One of them is early morning golden toast with amul butter topped with aai’s garlic chutney.

4 ingredients, 4 minutes

I promise 😍😍

Ingredients and method:

6-8 pods garlic
1 cup grated coconut ( not dessicated)
2-3 tsp Red chilli pd
1 tbsp groundnut powder

Grind all together, store in an air tight container.

​Varhadi Gola Bhaat 

I have been fortunate to have had two of the best cooks in the world guide me when I entered this amazing world of culinary  heaven.

 On one hand, my mum, a totally and utterly eccentric chef, who could whip up the tastiest of food in an instant for as many people you could think of. But there was never a recipe not any measurement not any reasoning or any  science behind it. Nonetheless I inherited the traits and most of her recipe purely by being there and watching her mesmerised while she threw aromatic spices into sizzling woks of fiery chicken curry, drained with complete abandon perfectly golden discs of pooris and served the most perfect fried fish which would put the most perfect Michelin chef to shame. 

There was a method in her madness ( maybe !)

 My mum in law, on the other hand, was the most scientific chef ever. 

There was a method in her kitchen but no madness. Food didn’t just happen, it was created. An act of discipline and devotion.  She taught me the fine nuances of the art of cooking, why step 1 was important to perfect before step 3, etc. Naturally she made heavenly dishes which we passed on to the next generation. 

Gola bhaat was one such item which was a regular favourite during navaratri festival. It is coupled with chinche chi aamti ( sweet sour tamarind soup) . Quick and easy to make. 

Roasted chana dal, coarsely ground.
Tamarind water, jaggery.

1.Cook rice in a covered sauce pan.
Meanwhile roast chana Dal 

2.Grind the roasted chana dal coarsely. 

3.Add salt, sugar  dhaniya powder, haldi, mirchi and a bit of jeera powder to taste. Make a firm dough with yoghurt. 

4.Add 1-2 tbsp of hot oil, mix well.
Make firm dumplings with the palm of your hand.

5. Once the rice is half done,  please dumplings on top of the part cooked rice, cover and cook again till the dough balls are well done.

6.Chinche chi aamti ( sweet sour tamarind soup)

Heat tamarind water and jaggery in a saucepan, add salt to taste. 

Heat  butter / ghee, add tadka of jeera, kadi patta and hing.

7. Serve hot with dried red chillies in oil.

Don’t forget to smile 😍😍

Aubergine Sabji  



Every  Indian state and family has their own secret recipes which they swear by….. It is known by many names ie vaangi bhajee, vayudennengya masala, kathrikai curry, badanaekai, etc etc. These are all perfect and we have all been witness too many duels between varying factions of the fairer sex as to which recipe is the best.

I don’t claim any of those lofty titles, all i know is that this is a variation of my MIL ‘s and mum ‘s recipe and something that has always worked well in our parties.


Coriander seeds 3tbsp

Jeera 1tbsp

Khus khus 1tbsp

Sesame seeds 1tbsp

Ground nut 2tbsp

Red chillies 4

Dry roast all of the above

Fresh coconut 2tbsp

Onions 2

Ginger garlic paste 2tsp

Cashews 5-10



Grind the roasted spices  with the above ingredients.
Stuff this paste into 10-15 slit aubergines.


Heat generous amount of oil

Add tadka

Slide the stuffed aubergines into the oil and gently stir.

Add half a cup of water and 2tsp of tamarind paste , sugar and cover.

Cook till nearly done.

Add curry leaves or Coriander leaves at the end.

Serve with hot rotis or rice.

Sharmi’s Mango Curry (Menaskai Mango Gojju)

This is one of the best mango dishes ever. We tasted it for the first time at Sharmila’s place and I was hooked!!! It is an Udipi recipe and goes by the name of Menaskai Mango Gojju. Easy to make and can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

This can be made with raw as well as ripe mangoes.

Ingredients and Method

1tsp methi seeds

1tsp urad dhal

1 tsp jeera seeds

2/3 red dried chilli

Curry leaves

Roast the above with 2tsp of oil

2-3 tsp black sesame seeds , dry roast on low heat.

Grind all these with 2 tsp of fresh grated coconut.

Separately cook raw mango (with skin cut in to pieces ) or pineapple (tinned one) till just firm, add lime size piece of  jaggery , then add the above masala , salt and bring to a boil.

Take it off the flame and serve hot or cold.



Vaatli Dal- of time past, comfort food galore 

There is a certain nostalgia when it comes to some food. While vada sambar reminds me of our indian coffee house, alu poha is associated with mohan ki tapri and vaatli daal is strongly ingrained with chaitra gauri during gudi padwa ( and the haldi kum kum with it). The freshness and simplicity is amazing and nearly all households have their own version. I have added raw mango here just like aai used to. It can be used as a chutney or sandwich filler too. 

Chana dal- soaked in water for few hours, coarsely ground 

Raw mango- grated

Oil, mustard, hing, haldi, curry leaves

Salt, sugar


Heat oil, pop mustard seeds, add hing, haldi and curry leaves.

Add coarsely ground chana dal, cover and cook till the dal is soft and done.

Add grated mango ( fresh coconut optional).

Add salt and sugar to taste.

Thai Cooking Workshop 2016

Thai Cooking Workshop 2016


Thailand is a place where all your senses come alive… all aspects, whether it is the jaw dropping scenery, the people full of mirth and joy or most importantly the lip smackingly delicious food! I have never been a follower of ‘exact’ recipes, so when I witnessed a Thai cooking in action, I realised that this was the one for me…..

As my grandma used to say- you can create magic with just your five senses: taste, sight, feel, smell, sound ….. And it stands true in this workshop too. We marveled at the colourful display of the crunchy cucumber cheese rolls, took in the sinful pleasure of the tongue tingling hot and sweet taste of the spicy tom yum soup, the fresh fragrance of lemon grass and kafir lime leaves intermingling with lime, the silken texture of tofu clashing with the roughness of peanuts in the Massaman curry and the peels of laughter and squeals of delight all around the kitchen ….. Who can’t, but fall in love with cooking!!

Recipes of the Thai workshop as below:


NOTE- please let your guests gently know that this is an Amuse-Bouche, and not to be eaten to fill their tummy (mine pounced on it and devoured it in an instant and ordered another bunch straightaway!!)



1 cucumber, sliced longitudinally with mandolin slicer

1 pack Philadelphia cream cheese

Fine chopped red chillies and water cress for garnish


Make long strips of the cucumber with the slicer. Add a dollop of cream cheese to one end and roll into a tube. Stand upright on a platter and garnish with red chillies and watercress.


NOTE: this is a crowd pleaser, a visual treat, so please keep several trays prepared.


Cut watermelon into cubes, arrange on the serving platter. Crumble feta cheese on top. Drizzle lime juice, balsalmic vinegar and mint leaves. the freshness of the mint leaves and tangy lime blends beautifully with the crunchy sweet watermelon….just try it, its magical 🙂


I always disliked mushrooms till Rashmi made this which blew my non existent socks off…..Quick easy and makes you fall in love with mushrooms again!!!



Good quality clean mushrooms, stalks removed

1 pack Boursin garlic cheese

Finely chopped garlic, pepper and red chillies

Grated cheddar cheese

Butter melted

Rock salt


Clean mushrooms, remove stalk and fill the cups with cheese.

Arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with butter.

Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese, garlic, pepper and red chillies.

Season to taste.

Bake in the oven at 190 degrees till the mushrooms are done.


Okay, not technically Thai, but had to add it to the menu because of my fascination for this quick dish. Guaranteed to disappear even before the plate lands on the table.


Tomato-garlic flatbread


Lemon/lime, pomegranate seeds

Nando’s piri piri sauce


Heat the flat bread in the oven till crispy.

Spread hummus generously over it

Drizzle with spicy Nando’s sauce….carefull not to drool over it!!

Scatter chopped coriander, pomegranate seeds.

Sqeeze fresh lime juice over it.



Guraranteed addiction, you will be making it every week….


5-6 lemon grass stalks

12 shallots, halved

2-3 galangal

2 cups coriander and basil chopped

20 cherry tomatoes, other chopped vegetables ( mushrooms, baby corn, mange tout, etc)

3 or more lime

10-15 kafir lime leaves

Siracha sauce

Tom yum paste ( home made below or store bought)


Crush lemon grass, add sliced galangal, ginger, torn kafir lime leaves, coriander/basil leaves. Cover and boil till you prepare other vegetables, add the others.

Add lime juice, siracha sauce and tom yum paste.

Serve hot.

TOM YUM PASTE: Heat little oil, add finely chopped onions, saute. Add tamarind concentrate, palm sugar, fish sauce / shrimp paste ( if you want- it enhances the flavour and does not smell), sliced red chillies, chilli puree, lots of soy sauce. Heat till the mix thickens and adjust the taste according to your choice. I prefer sweet and spicy, henc emore sugar in mine.

CHEAT’S VERSION ( Shhhhh….) : Mix Maggie Tamarind ketchup, sweet chilli ketchup, siraccha sauce, maggi chilli sauce and lots of soy sauce.Place water to boil in a large vessel.


Lovely clash of flavours and colours…..mughal inspired dish

Remember its all about the paste, peanuts and coconut cream!



Massamum curry paste ( store bought- MAE PLOY) 4 tbsp appx

Boiled baby potatoes

Mushrooms, baby corn, mange tout, tofu

Roasted and crushed peanuts – 1 cup

Coconut cream- 2 cans

Kafir lime leaves – 8-12

Maggi tamarind sauce- 4 tbsp

Cinnamon, star anise, cloves

Sliced red chillies


Heat little oil, add masamun curry paste and stir in with the boiled baby potatoes.

Add coconut cream , 1 can and mix well. Add rest of the ingredients including spices and mix well.

After 10 mins or when the vegetables are done, add the remaining can of coconut cream, tamarind sauce, peanuts and chopped red chillies.

Garnish with coriander , serve hot.


Quick, instant noodle dish. Remember the 2,4,6,8 combination for sauce



Cooked pad thai noodles- flat rice noodles

Crushed peanuts

Sliced spring onions

Bean sprouts

Bok choi

2 onions sliced

Garlic mince


2= lime

4tbsp- sweet chilli sauce

6tbsp – brown sugar

8tbsp = soy sauce

Red chillies fine chopped

Mix all this with hot water and keep aside.


Heat oil in a wok

Add sliced onions, spring onions, garlic minced, stir

Add eggs and stir well,

Add the noodles, stir

Add the sauce and season to taste

Add bean sprouts, bok choi and peanuts and serve instantly….

The Salad Fraud……

I was never a salad person, always made fun of the salad eaters and the ghaas phoos gang. It was always so annoying to spend ages chewing like a goat or cow, my jaws always hurt and there was never a sense of fulfilment that one usually encounters when you actually eat meat 🙂

One day, however, something happened , no idea how, where and why ( psssttt….a little bird called aditi probably 😉 , but I found myself in the midst of a salad workshop, organising and thinking and soon little ideas took shape and my fantasies of butter chicken ,  lamb rogan josh and chilly pork divine were replaced by the colourful medley of a mixed vegetable salad, resplendent with pearl barley and quinoa!!!

The salad workshop was a super hit. Below are the salad recipes, all of them divine and easy to make.

Hope these come in handy and you enjoy making them just like I did 🙂

 My Grape fruit and orange salad with ginger and red chilly dressing


This is a special favourite of mine. I always believe in the saying that you first feast with your eyes and eat with your mouth later!!! Theses one of those moments…..Make this and you will have your guests eating out of your hands forever!!!!

And I mean it :)))

Layer slices of grapefruit, large sized orange, kiwi fruit and small oranges. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and sliced red onions.
Dressing: 3 portions olive oil, 1 portion balsalmic vinegar, half a lemon, 1 tbsp honey, salt, pepper, fine chopped ginger, red chillies
Shake well

Niyati bowled us over with her selection of salads, simple but very impressive. The beauty is in experiencing each and every flavour rather than combining lots of flavours together. Loved them all ,especially the courgette salad!!!

Niyati’s Beetroot, baby spinach and goat’s cheese salad


Niyati’s Beetroot, baby spinach and goat’s cheese salad

Marinate sliced beetroot in walnut oil honey lemon salt and pepper dressing

Serve on spinach/rocket/mixed leaves , add crumbled goats cheese and toasted walnut or mixed seeds.

Drizzle the dressing

Niyati’s Caprese salad

Insalata Caprese ( salad of Capri) is usually served as an antipasti ( starter) and is meant to resemble the Italian Flag.

Love the simplicity and flavours.

Whole Ripe Tomatoes, Sliced Thick
Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced Thick
Fresh Basil Leaves
Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar For Drizzling
Sea Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Arrange tomato with mozzarella slices on top in a platter. Arrange basil leaves on top.

Drizzle olive oil balsamic dressing with salt and pepper over the top of the salad, getting a little bit on each slice.

Alternate halve plum/cherry tomatoes and mozarrela pearls arrange on spinach/salad leaves as individual servings.

Drizzle same dressing

Niyati’s stuffed peppers with cheese


Stuffed pepper with ricotta – top with basil drizzle olive oil with salt pepper

Niyati’s Courgette salad with mint, garlic, red chilli, lemon & extra virgin olive oil


4 courgettes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 red chilli
½ clove garlic (optional)
1 handful of fresh mint
extra virgin olive oil
1 squeeze lemon juice

1. Prepare the courgettes using the vegetable peeler and place into the serving bowl.

2. To make the dressing, squeeze the lemon juice, and mix with 3 parts more of olive oil. Grate the garlic finely, and add the chilli and mint. Season to taste.

3. Dress the courgettes and combine together well.

Sraboni’s Vietnamese Salad recipe: 

OK, now this salad deserves special mention because it was the first time I was experiencing such flavours and ingredients too. Just loved it. Will be a permanent feature in my culinary journey now.


Dressing – light soy sauce generous proportion 
1 spoon sugar

1/2 sp mushroom powder
Lemon juice 

Chinese cabbage, Leek fried, Basil chinese, coriander, mint, Peanuts

Mix well

Krishna’s Mixed Beans Salad

Loved the fresh flavours of this salad and more importantly the flamboyance and style with which it was presented. Totally won us over. Just realised that even a small flower here or there, or a simple crust of bread makes all the difference.



1 can mixed beans , 1 red pepper, chopped, 1 bunch green onions, chopped1 stalk celery, finely chopped, 1 small red onion finely chopped, ¼ Beetroot finely sliced.

Mix all ingredients a big salad bowl and keep in the refrigerator

Dressing:1/4 cup olive oil 2 T. wine vinegar (I used white-wine vinegar) Juice from half a lime (or 2-3 T.) 1/4 tsp. salt 1-2 tbs RedHot wings Buffalo sauce,1 tsp – Red chili flakes.

Mix dressing in a separate jam jar, and pour over beans salad.Serve salad mix on delicate inner leaves of romaine hearts, sprinkle some fresh lentil sprout mix and freshly clicked dwarf basil leaves.

Voila!Bon Appétit!!

Aditi’s papaya and mango salad

Another quick and amazing salad with an explosive array of flavours that will leave your taste buds tingling for a long time 🙂


Raw papaya grated in thin strips

Raw mango

Raw carrots 
Some red onions 


In a mortel grind 2 pods of garlic with red chillies as per taste , add freshly squeezed lemon juice with palm sugar , keep grinding to maximize the flavours and salt to taste ! 
Add fish sauce , if u are allowed , i omitted it as many vegetarians 

Then mix with the salad , add crushed peanuts and garnish with coriander  

I love this with stir fried prawns coated in corn flour salt and pepper !

Many thanks to Aditi Gupte, Krishna Thakur, Niyati Shah and Srasboni Dasgupta for showing us these recipes.

50 Shades of Aloo…..


No connection to the movie, sorry to disappoint you all 🙂 but this dish as christened as such by the original chef after seeing the various golden brown shades of these beautiful baby potatoes coupled with intense discussions over various dinner parties about the film and its psychology!!!

Its great cooking with friends and its even better when you cook with people who have OCD in general. Hence, for the first time in my life, I cooked using exact measurements ( though a teaspoon for me is two fingers and a tablespoon is 3 heaped finger full ) but that was allowed, after a lot of moaning and groaning by our Masterchef!!!


The beauty of this dish is its simplicity and low spice quotient, again something which was so painful for me to follow but the end result was surprisingly delicious!




MASALA : Grind or crush finely the following – 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 3 cardamom, 2 cloves, 2 pepper corns, 1 small piece bay leaf

15-20 BABY POTATOES, boiled and shallow fried in oil, till it turns beautifully golden. Keep aside.

3 tbsp oil

1 onion finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 cup yoghurt, well beaten

1 tbsp kasoori methi ( dry fenugreek leaves )

1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chilli pd, salt to taste


Heat 3 tbsp oil, add chopped onion and stir till it turns transparent. Add ginger garlic paste, stir well. add the ground masala, stir with potatoes till well combined. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp red chilli powder, stir. Add beaten yoghurt and combine all carefully and let it cook till oil leaves the sides of the pan. Add kasoori methi now. Finally add 2 or more cups water and cover and let it boil for 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander seeds.

The trick is to use these measurements and not give way, like me, and start using your own spices here and there :)))


Sharing a tiny bit of trivia, in passing…..

Dum aloo is a kashmiri cuisine and has been adopted by Bengalis who of course added the ‘o’ to it and called it floor Dom ( gosh, i really love the way they speak!!! ). Wikipedia tells me a very interesting story about the origin of Dum Aloo in Bengal. The Oudh famine in 1784 introduced Nawabi cooking in Bengal who substituted beef with baby potatoes ( supposed to be a dutch novelty then and hence taken up by he intellectual and westernised Indians in British India ) and slow cooked them according to the tradition of Ain-i-Akbari ( overnight beef stew).

Apres ski day 1

The plans took shape three years ago as soon as we finished our ski holiday in Les Orres and took three years to materialise 🙂 However, we were finally here and more than the skiing, I was more excited bc of the endles possibilities of learning a new cuisine. Natalie and Dan were brilliant and had so much patience to deal with my interference and never ending questions.

Anyway, menu for day 1 was chicken liver pate with fruit chutney, chicken in white wine sauce and vegetables and strawberry kiwi parfait.



Chicken in white wine sauce :

Marinade /season chicken and bake in oven till well done.

Saute mushroom in butter, add white wine and reduce till 1/3rd, add lots of cream, season, add tarragon.

Serve on a bed of rice.

Easy Banana Bites


How difficult is it to get 2 over-ripe bananas? I have always thought that its no big deal because there is always a poor old banana, lying unwanted, unloved in some corner of our kitchens! With this in mind, last weekend, when I spotted two such miserable souls, I announced to my brood that I was intending to make some banana muffins…..and hey presto, they vanished!!!! My brood thought that they had to eat just those blotchy, soft bananas that morning because it was the end of the world!!!!! Hence, i had to wait a full week ( and hide 2 bananas too 😉 to make this batch, inspired by Sherin’s superb blog.

Anyway, as it often occurs in my culinary travails, my first batch got charred ( thanks to Varun’s warm snuggle 🙂 ) and I had to put the leftover batter to use. The result was amazing, superset, moist, melt in the mouth cake. Do give it a try and share your photos too…


RECIPE: ( I hate measuring stuff because I am too lazy to look for all scales etc etc hence am putting my approximate measurements too )

2 unloved, over-ripe large bananas, mashed

Sultanas -100 gms ( around a big fistful ) , soaked in 1/4th cup hot tea water ( dip a teabag into boiling water and squeeze it out )

Plain flour 175 gms ( 1/3rd teacup); baking pd 2 tsp; soda bicarb 1/2 tsp; salt 1/2 tsp

Butter 125 gms ( half a slab ), Castor sugar 150 gms ( 1/3rd cup or more ); eggs 2 ; vanilla extract 1tsp


1.Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.

2. Mix/     plain flour, soda, baking pod and salt together.

3. In another bowl, melt butter in the microwave; add sugar, mix well; add eggs one at a time, mix well.

4. Mix flour int he egg-sugar mixture, fold well, add mashed bananas and sultanas.

5. Bake till done ( but be careful, don’t let it burn like I did ).


6. Serve hot, straight from the oven….You are guaranteed a special twinkle and a hug, like I got 🙂 …. In fact, Rhea even took pictures for me and added her own touches to the images !





An explosion of tastes ranging from spicy to nutty to sweet and savoury!!! Now thats difficult to resist! All made within minutes…..and with just few ingredients. If you don’t believe me, try it out for your weekend dinner. Its guaranteed to be a success…..
Midweek is my weakness! Wednesday , Thursdays feel really really long and thats when by midday, my mind starts furiously ravaging through scores of ideas about what to cook for dinner, and invariably end up with something thats comfort food. Its what brings a sense of relief at the end of a tough day, the ultimate prize after a great workout, and a great feel good factor. It can be in the form of a hearty soup, a bowl of rajma shawl or something that i cooked last night-

Chicken Fillets – a big bowl
Peanut butter-crunchy : 300 gm
Chilli sauce or fresh chillies to taste
Honey: 4 tablespoon or acc to taste
Onion garlic chopped : 1 cup
Sweet peppers : 3
Raw mango optional
Coriander leaves chopped 1/2 cup

Saute chopped onion garlic in very little oil. When transparent, add chicken and cook till done ( you can also just pop it int he oven and bake or microwave it if you want to save time ). Take it out and place aside. In the same wok, add peanut butter, mix it with water to make a runny paste. add chilli sauce, chopped chillies ( i add lots of chillies to balance the sweet taste ). add honey.
Combine it with the chicken, sliced peppers and mango ( optional ). Garnish with chopped coriander and serve it with a plateful of steaming rice or noodles !!!!!

AMAZING FACT: The feel of crunchy peanuts, fiery chillies exploding in your mouth and sweetness of honey trying to calm it down Love it….Let me know if you like it too, friends

Amazing Ammu’s Appams



Whats in a name? Its known by many many names i.e. appam, paneeyaram, gunpanglu, appe, etc etc but one thing that is universal is the feeling of nostalgia it evokes when you hear this name.

It takes me back to summer holidays in kerala, running to my grandma’s outstretched arms after a tough day of playing in the fields with friends from the neighbourhood, hair braided with the now wilted jasmine flowers and tiredness writ on our faces.All she would do is smile and slide a plate of these beautiful golden pillowy fluffy balls in my mouth and that would go on and on and on.



Those tender hands are no longer there to feed me, but their memories live forever and so do these appams.

Mum, who is soon coming close to as perfect as my grandma was, made these this morning and hence, am sharing the recipe with you.

Please do drop in within the next hour or so if you want to sample them too 🙂 🙂 🙂IMG_4342IMG_4331


Soak 1 cups urad dal , 2 cups rice and a handful of methi ( fenugreek ) seeds for 6 hours, grind it to a smooth batter and keep overnight to ferment. add salt just before cooking. Pour dollops of the batter into the appam bowls ( non stick ) with only a spray of oil in each. Once a side is done, spray with oil and turn again and cook he other side till golden.

Serve hot with easy groundnut/coconut chutney!!!!

Warning: Its so addictive that you will find yourselves standing by the hob for at least a couple of hours because your family will not have had enough 🙂 🙂 But hey ho, thats why we cook, isn’t it!!!!

For The Love Of Peanut Butter!!!!!


I made fudge! It looked like fudge, it smelt like fudge and it really really tasted like good fudge! Haan bhai haan, barfi banaya and that too without hours of standing and working my biceps and triceps ( remember the slow long painful process associated with barfi making


You might ask. so what?!


The truth is that i am pretty lucky with most things in life but feel the struggle and pinch to make small things happen, things that come easily to people…..for example- i have managed to kill each and every plant that has entered my house  and when it comes to recipes which are out of the way for normalings like me . well……for every successful recipe there have been hundreds slaughtered along the way , hmmm, well, not that much , i am exaggerating, but you know what i mean! 


IMG_3827So when i decided to make something dedicated to peanut butter and all peanut butter crazy friends, I was prepared for it to turn into a messy sticky lump!!!! However, this turned out great and hence sharing this 4 minute wonder with you…..

Positive points – it has peanut butter, what else do you want positive in anything!!! its super easy, needs only 4 ingredients, no formal measurements,

Negative points – you have to get someone to hide it as it will disappear in minutes. It is a darned diet buster, but then, who cares! its heavenly sin !!!

I found this recipe on bbc good food-


Half slab butter melted with 2 cups dark brown sugar and 1 cup milk till it boils. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla essence. Place 1 heaped cup icing sugar in a bowl and pour the peanut butter mix on top. using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture till smooth. Pour in a baking tray and chill till set.

Devour it instantly otherwise you will not even get the crumbs !!!!

Ammu’s Kerala Fish curry

 IMG_3801 IMG_3804

The Story of my Life

This is a familiar story and i am sure it has happened to you too. You can cook and cook and cook but you will never be as good as your mom. Mothers are magic, they are perfect and i happen to have one such perfect being here with me…..There is a certain magic in the ways mothers cook, there is no recipe, no measurements, no fancy names like Dauphinoise potatoes or Blanquet de Veau. Its just chicken curry, fish fry or sambar but the taste far surpasses even the best of best Michelin star chef’s signature dish. I have always tried to make it just the way mom does, but although I am nearly there, I am still not there, if you know what i mean 

Many of you have asked for mom’s recipe for fish curry which is really really yummy…..and by that I really mean that its really really yummy. So here it is…..
Warning: This is the recipe but there is no guarantee that it will taste the same; you might as well come home and get her to make it!!!


Mackarel 2, cut into small pieces

Grind the ingredients stated below –
( Half cup grated coconut, Fresh coriander seeds 4tbsp , Chlili powder to taste, Turmeric powder to taste, Half an onion )

Raw mango or dried kokum
Slit Green chillies
Curry leaves -handful
1 tbsp coconut oil

Add the paste and fish together, with slit Green chillies, curry leaves, raw mango or kokum for taste , 1 table spoon coconut oil in a earthen pot if you have one or in any saucepan
Heat till it boils, then simmer for 15 minutes…..
Serve with steamed rice.



Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake!!!!

And being born with a sweet tooth, i intend to do exactly that, on diet or not!!!!

A few weeks ago, while going through innumerable food blogs, i stumbled upon this wonderful recipe. The icing on the cake ( pun intended ) was that it fits exactly with the requirements of a food cheat like me……no, its NOT a low fat cake or an eggless cake!!! Its just a no-fuss cake, hence already goes way ahead in my priority list 🙂

There is always some chocolate fudge icing hidden deep inside the cake cupboard, waiting to be used and cookies n cream ice-cream is always welcome in our house. Oreo biscuits , of late, because of clever advertising, has become a ‘must have’ amongst kids, so getting the ingredients together is not an issue at all.

Hence, Rhea decided to make this for mama and of course, with the ever so dutiful helper, aka, me!!!! ( Now i realise all my mum had gone through years ago!!! )

OK, so here goes….


Collect all ingredients…..


The main cook mixes it all 🙂 ( mix brownie mix, oil, egg, ice-cream and chocolate icing)


Layer oreo biscuits over a layer of batter and top it with the remaining batter. ITs so difficult to keep your hands off , even at this stage!!!! Go ahead, you can definitely lick the bowl clean 🙂

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked…. mmmmm, it so delicious……



Serve hot with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream……The kids and me finished half of ours within minutes of getting it out of the oven!!!

The Reward: 

Rhea- mum, you are the best!

Varun- uh huh….mmm, its good.

Me: flying high in blissful motherly delight 🙂


1 pack brownie cake mix

eggs and oil according to the recipe in the cake mix

3 heaped scoops chocolate fudge icing

1/2 cup cookies and cream ice-cream

1 packet oreos biscuits


Combine eggs and oil with the brownie mix as instructed at the back of the box.

add ice-cream and fudge instead of the water.

Preheat oven and spray an 8″ square pan with cooking oil.

add a layer of batter, then a layer of oreos and then cover with a final layer of batter on top.

Place in the oven and cook till done ( takes approximately 40-50 minutes )

Serve hot with a generous dollop of vanilla ice-cream.


Whats a fake noodle: an Impasta ;)


Staying in a family with 3 generations, food is never an issue in our house. There is always food in abundance, so it a matter of choice for me whether to cook or not! Well, it may sound perfect to some of you, but mind you….its not Jespecially when your motherly instinct kicks in , you make something special for your kids and they say ‘oh, Grandpa just gave me beans on toast!!!’ grrrrrrrr there goes all the maternal affection and the background Bollywood style soft sentimental music.

Last evening was one such evening. I rushed home from work with images of my kids coming bounding to the door, screaming ‘mum, I am hungry, what are you gonna make tonight?!’ and always in my imagination, the first word that comes to mind is ‘pasta’. Anyway, none of that happened, as you would have guessed by now but I still went ahead and made pasta ( the kids , of course, promised to eat it after giving me curious looks aka why is she so excited about pasta?! Its just pasta, for goodness sake!!! )

I just love pasta in all shapes and forms… gives you a warm, satisfying feel ( carbs, of course J ) one of the most versatile dishes, can be made in a jiffy, can be modified according to your wishes ( we Indians find it difficult to resist adding a green chilly in the end, even though there is no place for it in the original recipe 😉


Firstly heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a thick bottom pan.

Add sausages and cook till golden brown on all sides.

Remove and drain the oil from the sausages on kitchen towel.

Cut it into pieces and keep aside.

Keep water to boil in a large saucepan, add 1 tsp salt

Add 2 cups of uncooked pasta to the boiling water.

Keep a colander ready for draining the pasta when it is nearly done.


Add 4 cloves of sliced garlic to the remaining oil in the pan.

Add 2 cups of chopped vegetables ( courgettes, baby tomatoes, sweet pepper, onions, sweet corn, beetroot, in fact add any veg that you fancy….)

Mix well with a large spoon till vegetables are nearly done.

Add the cooked pasta, canned mixed beans and tomato puree.

Add chicken stock ( 1 heaped tbsp of chicken stock granules to one cup of boiling water: I use the leftover water from the pasta )

Mix well with sausage chunks.


Season with salt and pepper to taste, perhaps some chopped green chillies too for those who cant do without it ( I definitely need it in everything J )


Serve steaming hot with a dollop of crème fraiche or 2 tbsp double cream.


Now just sit back, relax and enjoy this heart warming meal.